Society

Tribes Unite To Protest North Dakota Oil Pipeline

| by Robert Fowler
Native American Tribes gathered in protest in Cannon Ball, North DakotaNative American Tribes gathered in protest in Cannon Ball, North Dakota

Native Americans from across the U.S. have gathered in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to join in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for approving the pipeline, seeking an injunction on its construction through its 2.3-million-acre reservation.

The tribe has accused the federal regulators of not consulting it, citing concerns that the pipeline could disrupt sacred sites and the reservation’s drinking water.

“The construction and operation of the pipeline ... threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance to the Tribe,” the tribe wrote in its complaint, according to CNN.

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Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline was approved in July. The pipeline would transport an estimated 470,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. It would also cut through South Dakota and Iowa.

Dakota Access, the project developer of the pipeline, has estimated it would bring 8,000 to 12,000 construction jobs to the four states and local governments. North Dakota is currently in an economic slump.

The tribe’s chairman, Dave Archambault II, accused the Army Corps of ignoring federal laws and fast-tracking “this massive project just to meet the pipeline’s aggressive construction schedule.”

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have peacefully protested construction of the pipeline, gathering at the construction site and halting progress.

They have been joined by 1,500 others from 150 tribes from across the U.S., The Seattle Times reports.

Their numbers have been helped by eight tribes from Washington state, many of them experienced in staging protests against fossil-fuel projects that have encroached on their reservations.

Several protesters in North Dakota and Iowa were arrested while demonstrating against the pipeline, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Meanwhile, Native American tribes gathered in Cannon Ball have set up a camp. On Aug. 30, President Brian Cladoosby of the National Congress of American Indians delivered a statement from the protest site.

“We are a place-based society,” Cladoosby said. “We live where our ancestors are buried. Our culture, laws and values are tied to all that surrounds us, the place where our children’s future will be for years to come. We cannot ruin where our ancestors are buried, where our children will call home.”

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg will make a ruling on the pipeline’s future on Sept. 9.

Sources: CNNThe Dallas Morning NewsThe Seattle Times / Photo credit: Yakama Nation via The Seattle Times

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